Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peacedove.svg The project page associated with this talk page is an official policy on Wikipedia. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard for all users to follow. Please review policy editing recommendations before making any substantive change to this page. Always remember to keep cool when editing. Changes to this page do not immediately change policy anyway, so don't panic.

Major change: Journalism -> Original reporting[edit]

The use of WP:NOT#JOURNALISM has been imprecise and incorrect for years now, and I'm being bold in changing it instead to "original reporting."

The rationale -- journalism encompasses a much larger set of activities than just "news." The section "Wikipedia is not a newspaper" is valid, but then making point #1 underneath it as "not journalism" is much too broad and contradicts accepted use of that term. Read what our own article journalism says, that it is the "gathering, processing, and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience." This is a completely valid description of what Wikipedia does as an act of journalism -- it is a distillation and summarization of news and information for an audience, even though it is not originally reporting info. Therefore, I'm narrowing the section on "Wikipedia is not a newspaper" down to exactly why the sections was created in the first place -- to ensure Wikipedia is not original or a primary source of such news reports. I know this may be problematic for some legacy links to WP:NOT #JOURNALISM, but it's more important to be precise, accurate and consistent on our policy than to perpetuate an erroneous use of terminology. -- Fuzheado | Talk 12:25, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

I've left WP:NOT#JOURNALISM in as a legacy anchor so it can still support old references. -- Fuzheado | Talk 12:29, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I like that, but I don't know if the consensus agrees. It's neat and clever, but maybe we should regulate people's journalistic skills rather than discourage it. Shall I add the RFC tag here to bring in more people? --George Ho (talk) 17:46, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Please do. This is a small change in size but a huge one in scope alteration. Few topics are of more interest to more Wikipedians than how we handle sourcing, including estimations of its reliability, biases and intent.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:51, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I reverted the good-faith action and tagged "Journalism" as disputed. --George Ho (talk) 05:01, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
maybe we should regulate people's journalistic skills rather than discourage it. - that's Wikinews, not --MASEM (t) 05:19, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Fix the Journalism article if you want, but please leave the policy alone. The Encyclopedia Britannica could be considered journalism the way you're applying the definition. We're not reporting on the news, through original pieces or otherwise. The news is one of our sources. --NeilN talk to me 05:22, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm going oppose also. Much of NOT, and in particular that section is just another iteration of Wikipedia is an (unoriginal) encyclopedia, including it is meant to be a an emphatic tertiary source (nothing original, except several aspects of composition) and not like a primary or secondary source. "Not journalism" gets that across in an accessible manner. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:50, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • oppose wikipedia is not only NOT "original reporting" , it is also NOT "a lot of other (probably most other) types of journalism". -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:31, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I find the OP's proposal to be a straw man. OP suggests "journalism" is used the wrong sense whereas I can perfectly assume that "journalism" is exactly what he is saying and journalism is not allowed in Wikipedia. What Wikipedia gathers, processes and disseminates is certainly not news. In addition, investigating the pragmatic value of the word "journalism" puts this field in connection with: (a) publication of content solely because they are novel, fun, controversial or shocking and (b) content that are occasionally judgmental, unfair, far-from-truth, based on assumptions or otherwise lacking value in a court of law or in science and academia. I'd say the word "journalism" is spot-on here. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 04:44, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For the reasons stated above. The OP should consider contributing to WikiNews, not Wikipedia.--Coolcaesar (talk) 11:56, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Support No matter how much we can cry WP:NOTNEWS - Wikipedia, indeed, does gather, process and disseminate news, daily and prominently (heck, we have a "In the news" section on our main page!) -but not as original research. Instead, it collects what other sources have reported. This can indeed be called a type of journalism, even if the notion makes people shiver. Most "oppose" above insist that the are a tertiary source, or that the news are our sources: but this is exactly what this change clarifies: we do nothing original. In fact, the proposed change here is mostly cosmetic: it does not change anything of our current practices. It only clarifies what we do. Since policy is to be more descriptive than prescriptive, I see no problems with the proposed wording, and I consider it a welcome clarification.--cyclopiaspeak! 15:18, 9 September 2014 (UTC)


What is the proposed change that is being considered? If there is a question on whether to make a particular change to this policy, then the RFC should include a Survey section for !votes. What is being !voted on? Can someone state the status quo and the proposed change so that a Survey can be added? Robert McClenon (talk) 13:13, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Change from "journalism" to "original reporting"? That's the question for you. --George Ho (talk) 15:44, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Profanity censoring[edit]

@Lucas Thoms: Does the offensive/profanity language and offensive material on Wikipedia can be censored on articles and pages according to WP:CENSORED? --Allen talk 03:12, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

No, we do not censor profanity at all if it is part of the original source material. Editors are asked to avoid using that in talk page discussions, or to introduce it into article text if not necessary. --MASEM (t) 03:22, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi. We don't censor profanity but we do remove it. There is a difference. To censor it means to have a mandate to delete or circumvent it just because it is indecent. But we do remove it because their use is in violation of WP:NPOV. Inclusion of sentiments, passing judgment and WP:PEACOCK are instances of profanity's flaws. Also, an editor's use of profanity on his or her own volition is a violation of WP:CIVIL.
So, to sum up, rest assured that if a politician described another politician as a "cheap whore" and this exact incivility triggered the World War 3, there is nothing to stop you from writing it in the appropriate article.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 05:36, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, if the profanity on articles is allowed that way, it's used by WP:NOTCENSORED. But not in their user and talk pages. --Allen talk 22:23, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes and no. Generally, apart from being profane, profanities have too much problems. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 00:54, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Can you provide a specific example? There may be other reasons that material was remove that has nothing to do with it being profane or offensive (such as vandalism, bias, and etc.). —Farix (t | c) 18:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
On articles contains profanity and offensive material in there, we censor or do not censor that as an unnecessary problem of reading that. --Allen talk 00:19, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
I asked for a specific example. Instead, i get a gibberish sentence that I can't make heads or tails of. —Farix (t | c) 01:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 8 September 2014[edit]

Minor grammar error under Wikipedia is not a democracy: “but polls or surveys can impede, rather than foster discussion” either is missing a comma (after “foster”) or has an unneeded comma. (talk) 05:13, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

done Meters (talk) 05:17, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a translation dictionary[edit]

Good morning.

We have had stackloads of redirects over at WP:RFD lately that essentially are better served by Interwiki links. (User:TheChampionMan1234 seems uncannily good at finding these). The usual consensus on those redirects has, I feel it fair to say, been to delete them. (A few go to retargets.) Would it be useful to state more explicitly at WP:NOT that Wikipedia is not a translation dictionary or phrasebook? Perhaps WP:NOTPHRASEBOOK or something? I know we have WP:DICDEF, and so on, but that is a bit more general: since these are redirects they are not really dictionary definitions, but just substitutes (in my view, subversions) for Interwiki links. I don't think, in general, they help non-English speakers. There are, of course, exceptions, and we have a fair few linguists at RfD so we tend to sort those out. It would just be nice to have a general policy.

I suggest as a draft phrasing of that policy, which is pretty much de facto at the moment over at RfD:

Wikipedia is not a phrasebook. Where articles exist in other languages, they are better served by Interwiki links to those languages. The Wikimedia software will automatically cross-reference all the languages. Where articles do not exist, redirects should not be added at English Wikipedia; doing so may inhibit readers' searching, or may discourage their creation on other Wikipedias (see WP:REDLINK).

Si Trew (talk) 06:24, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

I've linked to here from WT:RFD#Wikipedia is not a translation dictionary (policy request). If there is a better place to discuss it, please let me know (or just move it!) Si Trew (talk) 06:27, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Hmm. While this is true in general, I'm feeling that at the moment there is a push to treat every foreign language redirect as if it were created to make Wikipedia a translation dictionary, which is far from always the case. Any wording here must be clear that there are foreign language terms that should be included in Wikipedia as searching aids to English speakers (e.g. native names, embedded phrases, official names, original names, etc) rather than discouraging the lot. Thryduulf (talk) 07:10, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, that's true. That's what the {{R from alternate language}} series of templates are for. I don't know how to encompass that briefly. Just reading English as she is spoke, which I was aware of for many years but never got a copy. Still in print, apparently. Si Trew (talk)
Suggestion How about add a sentence at end:
"However, some foreign-language redirects are useful if the term is widely used by English speakers, or it refers to the official name of a well-known entity in its own language".
I don't think we need to qualify about embedded phrases, which are ''de rigueur'' anyway, in that we don't translate things in quotes (if must needs, we add a translation after the quote). We can't have every single "official" or "native" name. I'm suggesting a would be a policy/guideline but of course WP:IAR would come into play.
Perhaps it should not be at WP:NOT rather to be added to the guidelines at WP:RFD itself? Si Trew (talk) 07:35, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
  • @SimonTrew:By the way, speaking of phrasebooks, it might be a good idea to mention phrasebooks on Wikivoyage. I started editing there (not the phrasebooks though) a while back. - TheChampionMan1234 07:30, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
(ec) I'm not aware of that project. Si Trew (talk) 07:37, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Second attempt.
Wikipedia is not a phrasebook. Where articles exist in other languages, they are better served by Interwiki links to those languages. The Wikimedia software will automatically cross-reference all the languages. Where English-language articles do not exist, redirects in other languages should not be added at English Wikipedia: doing so can discourage their creation and inhibit readers' searches. (See WP:FORRED.) But some foreign-language redirects are useful when the term is widely used by English speakers, especially if they refer to the native name of a well-known entity in its own language.
Any better? Si Trew (talk) 07:43, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
@Thryduulf: @TheChampionMan1234: On reflection, perhaps we just add some kind of policy statement (with consensus of course) at WP:FORRED. I just felt, first, that is too wordy for most people to read, and secondly, a bit hard to find (well not hard but it is not an obvious term, to me). Since we are the redirect bunnies, perhaps we just make a redirect from WP:PHRASEBOOK to WP:FORRED and get back in our warren? We can then agree on some mods to that wording there, if you want? I felt that that guideline was not sufficiently prominent to many editors adding these Rs. Si Trew (talk) 07:55, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Also I wanted it worded so it is not specific to Rs, but to foreign-language articles generally (Unless it's changed, MOS contradicts itself on whether a redirect is an article, but I tend not to walk into that minefield). Si Trew (talk) 08:21, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

That wont work either, as it just reads as "Do not create any redirects where articles exist on other language wikipedias but do create redirects when..." - i.e. it reads as self contradictory. I think it's far too nuanced for any simple statement as there are equally many cases where such redirects are appropriate (e.g. there is no reason why we cannot or should not have redirects/links from the official native names of everything that has such (e.g. Luik, Lidje, Lüttich, Leodium, Luuk, Léck), native names that are not official are a little trickier to define (e.g. 百度 (Baidu) yes, 香港上海滙豐銀行有限公司 (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) probably, 大熊猫 (giant panda) maybe, 可口可樂 (Coca Cola) probably not, (wolf) no). Thryduulf (talk) 08:32, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Third attempt.
Wikipedia is not a phrasebook. Where articles exist in other languages, they are better served by Interwiki links to those languages. Titles of articles (including redirects) in other languages should only be used if they serve English-speaking readers: not solely to serve speakers of other languages. See WP:FORRED. Mark redirects with a template such as {{R from alternate language}} when native and translated names differ significantly.
Are you really suggesting that an English-speaking reader will type 香港上海滙豐銀行有限公司 instead of HSBC? (Don't worry I know the history, my missus worked for them for several years.)Si Trew (talk) 11:25, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposed deletion of Template:Excessive advocacy[edit]

Template:Excessive advocacy inveighs against "excessive advocacy" in an article, citing this policy. However, this policy does not limit the quantity of advocacy, only the neutrality of coverage of advocacy. If someone is notable primarily for engaging in advocacy, such as Martin Luther King, it is appropriate for the article to have large amounts of coverage of their advocacy (as indeed King's article does) - it is not disproportionate, because that is what their life in the public eye was about. We already have a template for "the neutrality of this article has been disputed" - we don't need another one specifically for non-neutral coverage of advocacy.--greenrd (talk) 19:01, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

It's only used (Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Excessive advocacy) at Casey William Hardison and a very quick look at that article makes me think it is not appropriate on that page. I'm one of those who think tags like this are rarely useful, so I'm not concerned that it might be deleted, and I agree with the comments above. However, I think you need to add an appropriate WP:PROD template to the page, presumably in the documentation section. Johnuniq (talk) 03:27, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, sorry for the bad choice of words in my section heading - I knew something like this would happen. WP:PROD is only for articles, so I can't use that. Templates for Discussion (i.e. Templates for Deletion) is not permitted to be used for templates that are associated with policies, so I can't use that either. I don't know how we would actually go about deleting the template if there was consensus to do so, unless a friendly administrator happened to see this discussion at its conclusion and did it for us. Anyway, full disclosure: I've removed the template from most of the pages it was on - you can see that in my recent contributions from yesterday (date may differ depending on your timezone of course).--greenrd (talk) 07:13, 21 September 2014 (UTC)